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4 White Move on to the Semi-finals

WILTON, Conn -- Boasting the league’s best passing attack, No. 7 seed Westport visited undefeated Wilton White in fourth grade football playoff action Wednesday night at Middlebrook School field. Playing the old-fashioned way — in the mud — the Warriors put on a dominant display of hard-nosed, power football in a 22-0 demolition of the Wreckers.

True to form, the Wreckers took to the air on the game’s first play with a perfect spiral to the right flat, but defensive back Matt LaManna read the play perfectly, swatting the ball away and setting the tone for the game.

Following a punt, the Warriors went to work from their own 36. Wilton’s talented offensive line of Erik Lebek, Dean Griffin, Eric Zhang, Stephen Kendra, D.J. DiCostanzo, Trent Hollings and Cooper Heinemann immediately took over the game, opening a hole for Drew Phillips to convert on fourth and five. Three plays later, Phillips sprinted around left end 20 yards for the game’s first score. Phillips added the two point conversion to put the Warriors ahead for good.

Wilton’s defensive linemen — Patrick Coulter, Nick Sheehan, Oliver Shulman, Tate Falta, Jack Santomero, Hollings and Heinemann — were equally dominant. Throughout the game, the linemen made tackle after tackle in the Wreckers’ backfield and forced two fumbles, one recovered by Phillips and the other by Coulter.

With the ball back in Wilton hands at the Westport 34, Ryan Healey pitched the ball to Phillips. Heinemann sealed off the Westport defensive end, and fullback Austin Andersen wrecked the outside linebacker blocking him head over heels, giving Phillips room to dance to the five-yard line. 

On the next play, Andersen bulled through the defense and over the goal line for Wilton’s second touchdown. The two-point conversion was another clinic in execution as quarterback Healey pitched to Phillips, who dropped back and lofted a perfect pass back to Healey who had snuck into the left side of the end zone, making it 16-0 Warriors early in the second quarter.

Westport wilted in the face of the swarming Warriors and fumbled on the ensuing possession, giving the ball back to Wilton on the Westport 15. Three plays later, Wilton took to the air, with Healey hitting Phillips for a three-yard touchdown pass. 

Wilton played ball control in the second half with running backs LaManna, Cole Stephenson and Ben Leung pounding the ball into the Westport defense. Westport tried to mount a passing attack, but defensive backs Dominick Caratazzolo, LaManna and Niko Kouvaris were more than up to the task preventing a single pass completion during the contest.  The game ended in fitting fashion as Kouvaris recorded his third interception of the campaign demonstrating again the superiority of the Warriors’ old school approach to the game. 

The Warriors will next take on third seeded, 7-1-1 New Canaan Red on Sunday at 3 p.m. at Fujitani Field. To see the entire Fairfield County Football League playoffs grid, click on this weblink.

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